By Thomas Kraemer
Dr. Bransford is halfway through his surgery camp, and normally we would be expecting the patients to be thinning out by now. However, Dr. Bill Rhodes and his wife/surgical assistant Laura, along with Thomas, their anesthetist, arrived this afternoon. A new crowd of families, many with children suffering from cleft lips or cleft palates, is gathering to see Dr. Rhodes.
Cleft lips and cleft palates are birth defects that are relatively common. A cleft lip is easily recognizable as a split or opening that extends from the upper lip to the nose. A cleft palate is a hole or gap on the roof of the mouth. A baby may be born with one or both defects. Repairing cleft lips and palates is important not only for cosmetic purposes, but because without surgery the child often suffers feeding problems, speech problems or hearing problems. We’re grateful to Dr. Rhodes and his team for their support of children in Somaliland since 2011. In that time, they’ve repaired over 160 cleft lips and over 60 cleft palates, while performing a wide variety of other plastic surgery as well.
On Monday Dr. Bransford guided Dr. Shukri and Dr. Deeqa as they inserted shunts into several babies with hydrocephalus, and performed a skin graft and contracture release on Mohamed’s right ankle. They also had a surprise visit from a hydrocephalus patient they operated on in 2011; the family brought her back for a follow up. The shunt was still in place and functioning properly, and the little girl is developing normally.